Posted on April 15, 2020 at 05:00 PM
Flutter is Google’s UI toolkit for building beautiful, natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase. It is a free and open-source UI framework created by Google and released in May 2017. Essentially it allows you to create a native application with only one code and eliminates the need to create and maintain different codebases.
One cannot notice the difference between a native application and a Flutter one. Flutter uses Dart programming language which has been optimized for building user interfaces. Flutter provides a collection of reusable UI elements that you can personalize as per your needs. We can adjust UI and business logic globally through editing the code so the app looks the same on all platforms.
No need to run the application for every minor change in code, just save the code and see real-time changes in the application. Without losing the current state of the application one can apply UI changes, logic, bug fixes, new features, etc. It saves build time, unlike native counterparts where it takes time to build and run the app for verifying a single tweak.
With a large library of handy animations that can be easily implemented with Flutter’s animation support. The application looks polished and smooth with everything on the screen that can be customized with a custom widget and animations.
Some functionalities need to access the device/platform specific native APIs. Dart cannot access those platform-specific native APIs directly. To handle such cases, flutter allows us to write native code for each platform individually in their native language like Kotlin/Java for Android and Swift/ObjC for iOS and accessed as per platform on which app is running. This native code can be accessed through the app using a feature known as Platform Channels. For instance, Flutter cannot access the camera of a device directly so we write platform-specific native code to open the camera, take pictures, capture videos, etc and flutter code use Platform Channels to access those APIs.
Flutter apps can run on high FPS giving a very fluid and smooth experience to the user. According to Flutter docs, Flutter aims to provide 60 fps performance or 120 fps performance on capable devices. For rendering 60 frames per second, Flutter renders approximately every frame for 16ms. Flutter provides dev tools like Profiling and Debugging that can be utilized to optimize your code to increase app performance. Flutter apps can run on any present platform functioning properly with no changes to Dart code and preservation of outstanding design on the platforms.
Android and iOS have a vast repository of third-party libraries. We use those libraries as dependencies to achieve functionalities instead of reinventing the wheel. Flutter has dedicated site pub.dev maintained as a repository for all the flutter and dart plugins, where verified teams including Google's dart and flutter development teams upload and maintain the libraries. Any developer can sign up and upload their plugins. The vast array of third-party plugins can be found as well.
Any opensource SDK's backbone is the community. Flutter community is active on StackOverflow, Gitter, Hashnode, Discord, Slack, Reddit for Q&A and discussions. They have a session planned on Meetup. Daily post on Twitter account to keep everyone updated. Flutter dev team's blog published on Medium. YouTube channel they have videos for new widgets, development shows and Google I/O sessions.
Flutter is one of the fastest-growing mobile app development tools and a game-changer in the cross-platform development world. Because of its expressive and flexible UI, fast development, native performance even single platform applications go for Flutter. Flutter app development has already moved forward from mobile and opened new opportunities for web and desktop that are in active use today.